Mobile News and The future of Journalism
Digital, mobile and visual technologies have provided us with new ways for society to find and share news and information, making them a key part of economic, social and cultural life. Today, People all over the world are increasingly shifting their consumption of news from newspapers and other traditional forms, to mobile news and Internet services and this is due to these advances in technology.
As we are now living in a digital age, we are seeing big changes in the Journalism industry and new practices of Journalism are happening including the emergence of mobile news (the delivery and creation of news using mobile devices). Journalism is traditionally practiced through news organizations such as newspapers, broadcasting stations or news websites, but in a society where the Internet and mobile is becoming first for news, journalism has had to advance in order to keep up to date with these new platforms. But will the emergence of mobile news affect the future of journalism and if so, how?
A conference was held in 2008 by the BBC College of journalism discussing the future of journalism in relation to advances in technology. ‘Today, as technology changes the lives of both journalists and their customers, assumptions about what journalism is and how it is practiced are being re-examined.’ (The future of journalism, papers from conference, online). Peter Horrocks, director of BBC world services and one of the speakers at the conference, has seen how technology is changing journalism and says that there is an end to what he calls ‘Fortress Journalism’ and a new ‘Networked Journalism’. Horrocks explains that Fortress Journalism refers to journalism that thinks of itself as a closed system, Journalists are the experts of news and we listen to them. Whereas the new form of journalism is ‘Networked journalism’ and this takes into account the collaborative nature of journalism; it’s about tearing down the fortresses and making it open to public allowing journalist to communicate with the public. This idea of ‘Networked Journalism’, means the barriers for entering the news circuit are not as big as before. Anyone with basic computer skills can set up a blog or a twitter account and can easily discuss news with the world, and it is the process of remediation that has influenced these changes in journalism. Bolter and Grusin define ‘remediation’ as a process whereby each new medium promises to reform its predecessors by offering a more immediate, authentic experience, for example the medium of mobile news is said to be a better faster and more connected experience then the medium of television news.
These new online methods of distributing news, does not necessary eradicate old traditional ways, i.e. newspapers, television and radio. ‘Technologies don’t eliminate one another; they enhance or subtly change one another taking their place side-by-side in the new media ecology.’ ((Bolter & Grusin, 2000). Journalism lecture: Remediation) We are now carrying around the technology that allows us to have access to the Internet and news on-the-go thanks to gadgets like smartphones and tablets. These rapid advances in technology have changed the way in which we can get our news offering us this new medium of mobile news. The power of smartphones and their ability to be more then just a phone has been a big influence on the rising popularity of mobile news. With Millions of people owning these gadgets, the journalism industry needed to re-think how to respond to this new form of technology where information and news is available immediately and free. News corporations have noticed that a growing number of people are using the Internet for news and so have tried to meet the demand for mobile news by developing mobile web versions of the websites for easier access and applications for direct access to all the news anytime. For example BBC news, Sky news, The Guardian, MailOnline are just a few of the many available news applications on smartphones. This emergence of mobile news isn’t stopping newspaper journalism, but it is affecting it, causing a declining in the consumption of newspapers by society. ‘The proportion of people reading a national daily newspaper has been declining over the past three decades. In 1978, …72 per cent of people aged 15 and over in Great Britain had read a national daily newspaper, …62 per cent in 1991 and 53 per cent in 2001. In 2009, …42 per cent had reported reading a national daily newspaper.’(Office for national statistics) It is probable that the main reason for the decline is this increased use of the Internet and mobile news. People are starting to use and rely on mobile news services instead of purchasing newspapers or watching the news on television, and journalist are in fact actively using these social medias themselves to communication and interact with the public. The State of the News Media (2012): An Annual Report on American Journalism, found that Mobile news is important because people feel they can, ‘…have an impact on their communities, and feel more plugged into the media environment than they did a few years ago.’ ‘Citizens can not only read news from their local community, with tablets and smart phones, they can also share and post links to stories, comment, or contribute themselves.’ (State of the Media: Annual Report) Now, journalism has an interactive dialogue between organisation, communities, and individuals. World events like the Egyptian 25th January revolution, was fully covered, not just by professional journalists, but also by the people of Egypt via mobile phones and Internet. This communication and interaction with society is an advantage to journalism as it allows for better coverage of the news.
This rise of new media has increased the communications between people all over the world and has allowed people to express themselves through blogs, websites, pictures, and other user-generated media. It is also making journalists jobs easier as they can use this user-generated information for their own work. This means that New-media technology is impacting established journalism but also transforming the Internet into a more open, trustworthy and useful place for information and debate about news.
‘The development of the internet means that the process (news) is far quicker, more international in scope, and that the audience gets more of a look-in.’ (Journalism, principles and practice pp174)
So what does the future hold for journalism now that mobile news is becoming a popular platform?
People are enjoying being connected to the world, knowing what is going and being able to be part of it, and this has allowed the business of mobile news to thrive. The emergence of new media is affecting journalism for the better. Journalism is becoming more important then ever before as news is being distributed to a wider audience and having more of an affecting, as more people want to stay connected to the world by news. In order for journalism to remain something that society needs, it must advance with the technology like everything else in society, so we are now seeing more online journalism then ever before; the reporting of facts produced and distributed via the Internet. As technology becomes cheaper to manufacture, more people will have access the Internet and mobile news will gain an even wider audience globally. The emergence of mobile news has meant that news has become more user-generated, meaning the consumers participate in the making of the news by adding content themselves. This may give the idea that the work of journalist is not safe in the future as the audiences are also the contributor and creators of news, but Journalist have the skills to use this information, give it context and then report it, So journalists will remain important. We have also seen journalism change throughout the centuries, from the ‘19th century printing press culture, to the 20th century television and radio culture, to now, the 21st century digital and online culture’. (Journalism lecture, Remediation). All this change brought about better-advanced ways of getting news and people want and need it in their life. Whilst some may opt for the free, but sometimes not factual option of news, others are still willing to pay for real, accurate and trustworthy news. Now with the many options available and the strong rise of mobile news, how it’s delivered will be down to the news corporations and journalists, but if newspapers are to survive the impact of the internet and news media in the future, then stricter controls on news online should be made to encourage society to use the traditional forms. It is evident that there is no stopping the advancing of technology and this simply means that the future of journalism will be grow to be bigger, more global and online.
Bolter, J D., Grusin, R. (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media [new edition]. Cambridge MIT Press
Harcup, T. (2009) Journalism principles & practice. Second edition. London. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Jones, J. (2012). Remediation. BA Journalism Foundations 2[online]. Available from https://my.uwe.ac.uk/ [Accessed 24 April 2012].
Miller, C. /BBC (2009) The Future of Journalism. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/future_of_journalism.pdf [Accessed 24 April 2012]
Mitchell, A/State of the media, Major trends. Available from: http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/overview-4/major-trends/ [Accessed on: 30 April 2012]
Office for National Statistics (2011) Social Trends. Available from: http://www.webcitation.org/5zVhuudFT [Accessed on 30 April 2012]